Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Five: O, Christmas Tree!

I've had a couple of people protest the fact that the Twelve Days of Christmas actually takes place between December 25th to January 6th. I know, I know, calm your beans, folks! This isn't meant to be an official listing of Christmastide observations (if you couldn't tell by yesterday's post celebrating a 'Critical Refrigerator Snowman') but rather just some of my own favorite aspects of the season. I wanted to post my twelve days before Christmas because many of the traditions I have to share are best enjoyed before the big day.

Like today's subject, the Christmas tree!

Mom was never really into decorating for Christmas. By age twelve I had taken over setting the tree up entirely and every year Mom would allow me to take a day off from school to stay home and gussy the house up in festive Christmas swag. It benefited us both, I could deck the halls in the peace of Christmas carols and soap operas (weren't soap operas the best part of staying home from school?) and she was spared the headache of dragging out boxes of decorations after working a full day.

When I was a kid sometimes I wished Mom was more into decorating, but as I got older I appreciated the fact that she didn't pretend to love getting a house dolled up for Christmas anymore than she didn't stop me from loving it. She respected that my personality was different, and she shared her own personality with me rather than put on a show. Now as an adult I credit a lot of my enduring love for the holidays to the fact that I always relied on myself for the Christmas spirit rather than wait for my parents to do it for me.

Not that Mom didn't love Christmas itself, she did, and she put on a Christmas morning that put Santa to shame. She made Christmas day absolutely magical with candy canes appearing on the tree overnight, beautifully wrapped surprises, notes from Santa by the emptied plate of cookies, and feasts for two cooked to perfection. She just wasn't into tinsel and holly. As an adult I feel lucky that I get to set up the tree the exact same way I did in middle school. I crank up holiday tunes, drag out the boxes, string the lights, and hang the ornaments. Ryan loves to decorate for Christmas too, so this year it only got better!

I've been collecting my own Christmas ornaments since my early teens. Some I saved from when I was a kid, some I've purchased during my travels (I used to get an ornament in each city I visited) and some I have made myself from paper.

Our first married Christmas!
(We didn't like any of the ones for sale, so we painted our own).
It's an apple! I painted the illustration and
we glued it to pretty paper.
Puck and Elvis are in there too.
That lobster ornament is one of many lobster ornaments.
Hey, we're from New England.
No, seriously. A lot of lobsters. This is our Hawaiian lobster.
My beautiful ornament from Cart Before the Horse!
I've had this little guy since I was a child. This year I repaired
his paper tail, as it fell off sometime during the 90s.
A blurry shot of last year's paper ornament.
This year's Christmas display!
Even the fairy door has a wreath!
The tree last year on Christmas morning.
One of these things is not like the other....

I leave you with a video of Baby Elvis three years ago and his first day with the Christmas tree. I brought him home just days before Christmas and he wasted no time climbing to the very top of the tree in a bold attempt to eat every ornament.



  1. I somehow forgot your mother doesn't like decorating, and suddenly I feel a wave of relief, that I am not a terrible anti-Christmas monster when I hate my tree.

  2. Wait, wait. Stop the presses.


  3. In christmas time everyuthing looks so beautifully decorated and festive. I just loved reading your memories of christmas as a child and you getting into the spirit of christmas.


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